'India should not open its market to developed countries'

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 25 November 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India should not open its market to any developed country that does not provide market access to its goods and services, IT and Communications Minister Arun Shourie declared Tuesday.

Addressing a three-day business summit here, he said this was one of the decisions developing countries took at the World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting at Cancun in Mexico.

"Unless they (developed nations) reciprocate and give us market access for services and goods, we should not open up our market access for their goods," Shourie.

He was speaking at the annual India Economic Summit organised the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the World Economic Forum have jointly organised.

"We should not open up access in goods if walls are set up (by the developed nations) in services," he said.

Reacting to concerns expressed by the industry leaders over the backlash in the U.S. against outsourcing of IT services to Indian companies, Shourie warned against being very vocal "as such whirlwinds come and go as it happened in the case of Chinese goods like batteries, which were expected to swamp the market and impact domestic industries (in India)".

In view of presidential elections in the U.S. next year, Shourie said more American states were likely to follow the eight states that have already passed legislations to check outsourcing of IT services.

Shourie also urged the industry to shift focus to other promising markets in Japan and Europe.

"We hope Indian companies will make joint ventures in the 'Silicon Valley' of the European Union so that it does not seem like taking away jobs," the minister said.

China would be a difficult market to penetrate on one's own strength given its stress on promoting domestic efforts, he said.

"We should instead look at opportunities through Western companies already established in China, many of which already have collaboration with Indian companies," he said.

Giving the blueprint for Information and Communications Technology development, he said Indian companies should not undervalue the combination of skills, cost and IT infrastructure because this could become a propaganda tool.

The minister said India had decided to adopt e-governance in select ministries and departments at the central and state level to provide better services.

Departments linked with foreign trade would be the first to be provided all services online.

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